Learning from Surveys


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We have run five surveys so far this year on the Saugeen Times and two on the Kincardine Times.  the results have been interesting.  They have consistently shown strong feelings about issues.

What we try to do is pose a question with multiple choice answers and then we allow a comment.  We don't look at the results while the survey is in progress.

When the survey is over, we tally and publish the results along with representative comments by the survey takers.  Often very good ideas are contained in the comments that shows that the readers have done their homework.

In other cases we see a good deal of anger in the comments and sometimes comedy and whimsy. 

We plan on running new questions on a regular basis. They certainly give us insights into the stories that need covering.

Lots of communities do surveys.  In our opinion they often are too long and difficult to fill out online or in printed form.  Questions are best posed on a high level with as few choices as possible.

The effort to do these big surveys is large and they often go unnoticed and become obsolete quickly.  We feel this is due to their size and scope.  It often happens that follow up questions are never done.

What we have learned so far is that people like the surveys and they respond to the questions in numbers that seem to be in line with the importance of the issues.  Since it takes them less than 30 seconds to read the question and respond, they do so in large numbers

We also learned that surveys can tell us how much and to what depth people have concise information about an issue.  Most of this  information comes from the comments. This can lead us to gather more information about subjects and redouble our efforts to bring clarity where there may be a lack thereof.

With five year plans and elections coming up, it will be important to inform the public on the issues.  Health Care and Education are endless sources of questions.

It is evident from the work we have done that a number of subjects need to be surveyed, studied and key information supplied.  Online hyper-local news sources like ours are in an ideal position to gather in depth the information required for an informed public.  We can produce information as it is gathered and we have no storage limit and we can link to source material from the world.

We have been in operation for over two years now and we have online over 55,000 files.  We will accelerate our ability to gather information in the coming year.

If you have a survey question you'd like to ask, please email us:

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For past surveys on the Saugeen Times

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Sunday, March 21, 2010